Brown CS Blog

Brown CS PhD Student Skyler Austen Transforms His Cybersecurity Passion Into An Educational Hackathon For Younger Students


For first-year PhD student Skyler Austen, cybersecurity education is the focus of his work with Brown CS under faculty member Kathi Fisler. Skyler took his research and, for the last few months, worked with a high school teacher from his home state of Arkansas, James Houston, to host a statewide hackathon for middle school students at the beginning of April.

Maurice Herlihy Remembers His Teenage Work In Digital Humanities With His Pioneering Father, David Herlihy


Brown CS faculty member Maurice Herlihy is widely known for his work in practical and theoretical aspects of concurrent and distributed systems, but readers may be less familiar with one of his earliest research efforts. As a teenager, he traveled to Florence, Italy, where he helped his father, David Herlihy, on a project where he created punch cards based on data in the Florentine castato, or land registration system. 

Brown CS PhD Student Zainab Iftikhar Asks How Machines Understand Empathy

Does a machine and a human understand empathy in the same way? Brown CS doctoral student Zainab Iftikhar and her collaborators suggest not entirely. The emergence of Chat-GPT has stirred up discussions around the essence of humanity in the world of artificial intelligence. Traditionally, humans have been recognized for their critical thinking, compassion, and empathy. However, a shift occurred as large language models joined the club, changing the focus of computational psychotherapy to use AI to develop models that write empathetically and blur the lines between human and machine understanding of empathy.

Brown CS PhD Student Tongyu Zhou’s Generative AI Infographics Share The Stage With Shaq

You’ve probably never seen infographics like these. If you have, did you ever dream of creating them yourself? They’re the work of Brown CS PhD student Tongyu Zhou. Advised by faculty member Jeff Huang, she was part of the team at Adobe that built Project Infograph It, a tool that allows laypeople to use generative AI to easily build customizable infographics from data sets and text prompts. At the recent Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, she took the stage alongside basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal for a keynote in which she rapidly turned a set of statistics from a fictional basketball …

Diverse Career Paths: Brown CS Alum Peter Revesz Deciphers The Inscription On An Ancient Sphinx


On a trip to Athens as a Fulbright scholar in 2008, Brown CS alum Peter Revesz, now a professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s School of Computing with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies, remembered his conversations with the late Paris Kanellakis, a Brown CS faculty member. They ultimately led to his deciphering a series of enigmatic ancient inscriptions, including 28 Minoan Linear A texts, the Phaistos Disk, and most recently, the inscription on a 3rd-century Roman statue of a sphinx that has baffled scholars for almost two centuries.

Brown Alumni Monthly Looks At Suresh Venkatasubramanian's New Course, CSCI 1951-Z Fairness In Automated Decision-Making


“Once you you get people on board with the idea that we should do something about making sure our systems are fair and unbiased and accountable, the next obvious question is how do you do that?” says Professor Suresh Venkatasubramanian, who premiered CSCI 1951z, Fairness in Automated Decision-Making, last fall. “This class is really trying to answer that.”

Diverse Career Paths: Brown CS Alum Lisa Gelobter Focuses Her Career On Technology For Equitable Workplaces And “Doing Good”


A member of Brown CS (entered class of 1991, graduated class of 2011), Lisa Gelobter is the CEO and the founder of a tech startup called tEQuitable that uses technology to make workplaces more equitable. tEQuitable’s mission is to help companies create a safe, inclusive and equitable workplace. They provide a confidential sounding board for employees to address and resolve interpersonal conflict, specializing in micro-aggressions and micro-inequities, and they provide data and insights to companies to identify and improve systemic workplace culture issues.

The Telepresence Of Furniture In Extended Reality


In the current issue of ACM Interactions Magazine, Assistant Professor of Practice Ian Gonsher presents a collection of prototypes developed at the intersection of robotics, ubiquitous computing, mixed reality, and furniture design. These design research projects also call attention to inequalities between local and remote telepresence users, and offer viable alternatives away from the dominant paradigm of personal devices towards the development of extended reality infrastructure as a public good.

The Computer History Museum’s 40th Anniversary Celebration Of The Macintosh Includes A Shoutout To Brown CS


On January 24 of 2024, I attended the Computer History Museum (CHM)’s huge celebration in Silicon Valley for the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Apple Macintosh, where Brown CS got a shout-out during the two-hour program. Why would that be? I thought it would be interesting to those who weren’t around to learn about how universities – Brown in particular – were instrumental to the success of the computer that many now take for granted.